The negatives of changing scenery?
“Yes, that change in scenery was needed for you,”
My mum said something to that effect when her and my dad came to collect me from Gatwick Airport at close to 1am. I knew it was true, yet the flight had given me brain fog for being horrific. Horrific because my attitude was bad and I’d refused to check it, I’d waited in three different tiers of queuing systems, and had nearly missed my flight. Everyone on that flight back, everyone who’d participated in the ordering of the journey were, at the time, awful people.
The people in the seats around me were unable to compose themselves in the ways they likely had on the journey into Dalaman– coughing and farting that may have otherwise eluded them. I found myself hating babies too, my perceptions had become ruthless. I did not have the luxury of a free row this time, 15A was not 38F. I was boxed into a window seat which gave me a four hour light show across the continent. And, there was a spent Hubbabubba apple gum smeared into the floor beneath me– four hours of muscle spasming avoidance. A bottle of water and a can of full fat coke cost me £4, which I added to the surprise £48 I had to pay for my suitcase to accompany me home. I paid for the drinks with a smile that signified a loss of hope.
Prior to that, I’d spent the last day of my five day trip to Kalkan, Turkey existentially walking, yet remaining in close proximity to the shop that was looking after my luggage. I’d spent that morning at the local pebble beach watching dogs who’d been corroded by their freedom stamping in shallow sea puddles and bullying a much smaller dog. It was a cold morning, not a gift after four days of heat that averaged 33 degrees. I’d sat there, bent over my phone, remarking on the photos and videos I’d taken, wondering if they would mean anything to anybody as I struggled to make them stir something within me. But before all of that, I’d cleaned the apartment like a good little third gen.
In the days before, I’d filled a trophy cabinet’s worth of no-shows to various dinners and bars I’d been strong-armed into making reservations with; ‘strong-armed’ on account of free drinks, ‘specially made drinks’, and selective kindness. The dinners I did make good on my reservations for were with friends of friends in the UK– a lot of lamb, potato, cosmopolitans and other off-menu drinks. One night nearing the end, dinner was a sandwich of food I’d naively brought earlier– four eggs and a whole pack of bacon betwixt two pieces of sourdough. I sat in the kitchen and filmed myself eating it, turning it from corner to corner with salty, hurting eyes, listening to 100 other dinners happening outside of my walls. During the day of that day, like most days, I went swimming for hours because the water is a good shade in Kalkan. I was one lounger surrounded by many groups of acquaintances, families and partners in their eights and twos. While there, I read a little, a little bit of me, this, and 10 pages of a book I brought years ago during the BLM era of Corona, by David Olusoga. Throughout most beach days, and during the highlight of the trip– an eight hour boat ride to various swimming spots, I wondered how somebody could be so relaxed, so warm and jacketed in a state of cut-off-ness. I felt like a cat on my best days; somewhere out there was home, yet it could wait, and I in the meantime was free, my individualism fully realised. And when I thought of sad home things, I accepted it all, wanting for nothing.
Kalkan was my first solo trip, and it was booked because my mouth had been watering for a break, first beginning in may around my birthday. Turkey gave me a taste for a functional life alone someplace not in London. Even though there was no oat milk, I told myself that I could make my own. I told myself quite early on in the trip that I was ready to resume, to come back and work on my things, that I could have this life 10 times over, if no other motivation could be found. And being that I’ve been back now for a week, I’ve found that I’ve been floundering instead. Holidays tend to leave me shivering in their shadow for six weeks at least. It has always been very me to find sadness in the stark contrast in destinations and the kind of life each permits. It is the little girl in me that still cannot understand why life only allows for such holidays, instead of being the eternal holiday.
It has been yucky, not being happy or sure footed after a well-intentioned break. Though it would be a mistake for me to blame the thoughtlessness of the break– it’s impulsiveness for my inability to be intentional about a bounce back. Even holidays planned for a year in advance leave my sister and I yearning for something we can’t quite place. But unlike other holidays, there is something to return to. Rituals of order and success are a new addition to the post-holiday come down; not before there, yet now form a pact of survival I have made to myself. So this blogpost is a renewal of my subscription to the things that make me feel the most me. Thank you for being a friend.